Darkest Fear Page 37

Sometimes, negotiating meant shutting up.

When things wound down, Myron got up to leave. Kimberly Green blocked his path. “I’m going to make your life hell,” she said.

“That your way of asking me out?”

She leaned back as if he’d slapped her. When she recovered, she shook her head slowly. “You have no idea, do you?”

Shutting up, he reminded himself. Myron pushed past her and headed outside.


He called Emily from the car. “I thought I was being stood up,” she said.

Myron checked out the rearview mirror and spotted what might be another fed tail. No matter. “Sorry,” he said. “Something came up.”

“Involving the donor?”

“I don’t think so.”

“You still in Jersey?” Emily asked.


“Come on over. I’ll reheat dinner.”

He wanted to say no. “Okay.”

Franklin Lakes was about sprawling. Everything sprawled. The houses were mostly new construction, big brick mansions on eternal cul-de-sacs, little gates at the front of the driveways that opened with push-button or intercom, like that would really protect the owners from what lay outside the lush lawns and pedicure-clipped hedges. The interiors were sprawling too, dining rooms big enough to house helicopters, remote-controlled blinds, Sub-Zero/Viking Stove kitchens with marble islands that overlooked family rooms the size of movie theaters, always with complicated state-of-the-art entertainment centers.

Myron rang the bell and the door opened and for the first time in his life, Myron was face-to-face with his son.

Jeremy smiled at him. “Hi.”

Strong, totally alien surges ricocheted haphazardly through Myron, his nervous system melting down and in overdrive all at once. His diaphragm contracted and his lungs stopped. So, he was sure, did his heart. His mouth weakly opened and closed like a dying fish on a boat deck. Tears headed up and pushed toward the eyes.

“You’re Myron Bolitar, right?” Jeremy said.

An ocean-shell rushing filled Myron’s ears. He managed a nod.

“You played ball against my dad,” Jeremy said, still with the smile that ripped at the corners of Myron’s heart. “In college, right?”

Myron found his voice. “Yes.”

The kid nodded back. “Cool.”


A horn honked. Jeremy leaned to the right and looked behind Myron. “That’s my ride. Later.”

Jeremy leaped past Myron. Myron numbly turned and watched the boy jog down the driveway. Imagination maybe, but that gait was oh-so-familiar. From Myron’s old game films. More surges. Oh Christ …

Myron felt a hand on his shoulder, but he ignored it and watched the boy. The car door opened and swallowed Jeremy into the darkness. The driver’s window slid down and a pretty woman called out, “Sorry I’m late, Em.”

From behind him, Emily said, “No problem.”

“I’ll take them to school in the morning.”


A wave and the pretty woman’s window slid back into place. The car started on its way. Myron watched it disappear down the road. He felt Emily’s eyes on him. He slowly turned to her.

“Why did you do that?”

“I thought he’d be gone by now,” Emily said.

“Do I really look that stupid?”

She stepped back into the house. “I want to show you something.”

Trying to get his legs back, his head wobbly, and his internal referee still giving him the eight count, Myron followed her silently up the stairway. She led him down a darkened corridor lined with modern lithographs. She stopped, opened a door, and flipped on the lights. The room was teenage-cluttered, as if someone had put all the belongings in the center of the room and dropped a hand grenade on them. The posters on the walls—Michael Jordan, Keith Van Horn, Greg Downing, Austin Powers, the words YEAH, BABY! across his middle in pink tie-dye lettering—had been hung askew, all tattered corners and missing pushpins. There was a Nerf basketball hoop on the closet door. There was a computer on the desk and a baseball cap dangling from a desk lamp. The corkboard had a mix of family snapshots and construction-paper crayons signed by Jeremy’s sister, all held up by oversized pushpins. There were footballs and autographed baseballs and cheap trophies and a couple of blue ribbons and three basketballs, one with no air in it. There were stacks of computer-game CD-ROMs and a Game Boy on the unmade bed and a surprising amount of books, several opened and facedown. Clothes littered the floor like war wounded; the drawers were half open, shirts and underwear hanging out like they’d been shot mid-escape. The room had the slight, oddly comforting smell of kids’ socks.

“He’s a slob,” she said. Leaving off the obvious “like you.”

Myron stayed still.

“He keeps Oxy 10 in his desk drawer,” Emily said. “He thinks I don’t know. He’s at that age where crushes keep him up all night, but he’s never even kissed a girl.” She walked over to the corkboard and snatched up a photograph of Jeremy. “He’s beautiful, don’t you think?”

“This isn’t helping, Emily.”

“I want you to understand.”

“Understand what?”

“He’s never been kissed. He is going to die and he’s never even kissed a girl.”

Myron held up his hands. “I don’t know what you want me to say here.”

“Try to understand, okay?”

“I don’t need melodrama. I understand.”

“No, Myron, you don’t. You look back at the night and see it as some sort of Gothic blunder. We did something sinful and for that we all paid a heavy price. If we could just go back and erase that tragic mistake, well, it’s all so Hamlet and Macbeth, isn’t it? Your ruined basketball career, Greg’s future, our marriage—all laid to waste in that one moment of lust.”

“It wasn’t lust.”

“Let’s not go through that argument again. I don’t care what it was. Lust, stupidity, fear, fate. Call it whatever the hell you want to—but I would never want to go back. That ‘mistake’ was the best thing that ever happened to me. Jeremy, our son, came out of that mess. Do you hear what I’m saying? I’d destroy a million careers and marriages for him.”

She looked at him, challenging. He said nothing.

“I’m not religious and I don’t believe in fate or destiny or any of that,” she went on. “But maybe, just maybe, there had to be a balance. Maybe the only way to produce something so wonderful was to surround the event with so much destruction.”

Prev Next
Romance | Vampires | Fantasy | Billionaire | Werewolves | Zombies